Game of Thrones has ended, and the results were mixed. The series did wrap up some of its biggest storylines—some a bit more confusingly than others—but a few were also abandoned early. Here’s a list of some of the mysteries we’ll never see solved...unless the showrunners pull a Russo Brothers and start over-explaining everything after the fact.
For thousands of years, the Faith of the Seven was the most powerful religion in Westeros. Its strength and influence were unparalleled, even spawning a militarized, extremist branch that nearly took control of King’s Landing. Then in season six, Cersei Lannister blew up the Great Sept, killing the High Sparrow and his followers, along with many of the nobles in King’s Landings. After that watershed moment, it was like the Faith of the Seven had never existed.
We never got an explanation for what happened to the Faith of the Seven afterward, or organized religion as a whole. Did Queen Cersei Lannister, First of Her Name, abolish organized religion in Westeros...perhaps so she wouldn’t have to answer to anybody about all that incest business? Did she outright forbid it? And if so, what happened to the septs and septons? Did the Red God gain a following in its absence, or perhaps a new religion? And why haven’t we seen the rise of another extremist group looking to fill in the gaps?
But the biggest question has to do with the people themselves. The Faith of the Seven was a critical part of everyday life for many Westerosi. It seems weird that millions of people would completely abandon their lifelong religious practices just because Westeros’ version of the Vatican was demolished.
When Grey Worm brought Tyrion Lannister before the council at the Dragonpit, there were plenty of fresh faces in the group. Not everyone was wearing House sigils so it was impossible to tell who some of them were. Did we spot a Howland Reed in there, hanging out next to Samwell Tarly? Maybe, who knows. Personally, I don’t think it matters much. They’re the new lords and ladies of Westeros, it’s probably fine.
The one I am curious about though is the new prince of Dorne. He’s the only one who gets sort of an introduction before this scene: He was briefly mentioned as Daenerys and her council were deliberating their next steps to take King’s Landing (which went, well, kinda poorly). But we have no idea who this man is, or what his claim is to that title. Given how much time we spent in Dorne in season five, showing the country’s unique needs and demands—and following it up with Ellaria and her Sand Snakes staging a coup—it seemed weird to write off what should be a concerning power shift with a shrug and no name.
On that Dornish note, let’s talk about the tragedy that is Ellaria Sand. The series finale made a point to show us that Edmure Tully had survived and was now lord of the Riverlands. The last time we saw him he was Walder Frey’s prisoner and, given his physical condition, it looked like was still rotting in a cell at the Twins. After Arya Stark murdered Walder and his family in seasons six and seven, seemed likely that he’d simply starve to death with no one to look after him or free him. But apparently, he was rescued offscreen at some point.
The last time we saw Ellaria Sand, she was locked in the Red Keep’s dungeon, having been captured by Euron Greyjoy. Cersei made it a point that Ellaria would survive to slowly watch her daughter’s body rot, even if she had to force-feed her. There’s no reason to believe Ellaria was dead before the attack on King’s Landing. Did the dungeons collapse from Daenerys’ attack, or was she still down there, slowly starving to death? Did anyone bother to check the dungeon for survivors of Cersei’s wrath?
It seems insulting (and kind of sexist) that Edmure Tully was saved from his open-ended fate, but Ellaria Sand’s was ignored. Sure, she committed some pretty awful deeds, but this show isn’t about rewarding moral people. Tyrion Lannister killed a woman, and he was made Hand of the King. We deserve to know what happened to Ellaria—especially since she was right under their feet the entire time.
Samwell Tarly spent too much time writing his George R.R. Martin A Song of Ice and Fire fanfiction and not nearly enough on reading the rest of those books he stole from the Citadel. Given how they revealed the truth about Jon Snow’s parents and teased the prophecy of Azor Ahai (which may or may not have been fulfilled, depending on your point of view), it seems strange that they were abandoned after the one shocking reveal the show thought we needed to know.
Also, you’d think Samwell wouldn’t be allowed to be Grand Maester for King’s Landing after, you know, ending his training early and stealing a bunch of shit. But Bran is king now, so he gets to make the rules.
Queen Cersei borrowed a lot of money from the Iron Bank of Braavos to secure the services of the Golden Company (hopefully she got the elephant deposit back)—money that the bank presumably wants to collect. In A Dance With Dragons, the Iron Bank agreed to give Stannis Baratheon a loan on the condition that he promise to pay back all outstanding debts tied to the Iron Throne. The bank has no issue asking (or demanding) monarchs pay back debts that were created by others.
The Iron Bank, which is considered one of the most powerful forces in the entire known world, pretty much disappeared from the story in season seven. Now, we’ll never know how the Iron Bank was handling its relationship with Cersei, or how it’s responded to this sudden change in power. It could collect on all its outstanding debts in Westeros, throwing the kingdom into chaos. Or it could throw its support behind a new leader, as it has done before, promising even more chaos and destruction. I think Bronn, the new Master of Coin, has bigger problems to worry about than closed brothels.
There are many characters who were left on the proverbial cutting room floor in the final season. For example, there was the pirate Salladhor Saan, who rescued Davos Seaworth on more than one occasion but never got to play a part in the Great War. But the biggest unsolved mystery involves Jaqen H’ghar, who everybody assumed would come back in the final season in a major way. There was the theory that he was actually Syrio Forel, Arya’s dancing master who presumably died in the first season (another thing that was never confirmed).
Except...nothing happened. Jaqen never returned. At least as far as we know. You could always do a fanfiction headcanon about what face he was taking on that season (my vote is on King Bran). Now, Arya is off on her own grand adventures, and we’ll never know what happened to the man who taught Arya the game of faces. Did we need to know? Not necessarily. But it seemed unsatisfying to have that be where Jaqen’s story ended.
Out of all the stories that got no closure in Game of Thrones, Essos has to be the biggest. Literally, as it’s an entire continent.
The moment Daenerys left Essos, it’s like that whole area never existed or mattered. We never learned what happened to Daario, as he and the Second Sons struggled to keep the peace in Meereen. In fact, Meereen’s entire fate is completely up in the air, along with all the other places Daenerys liberated. How are the Dothraki women and children faring, after all their male fighters left to go fight in Daenerys’ war and presumably never return? The Warlocks of Qarth, who survived Daenerys attack and even attempted to kill her after the events of season two? Nothing.
The whole situation makes it seem like Essos, which is a bigger and vastly more interesting continent, never really mattered in Game of Thrones. At least not as its own distinct place. It was just a stepping stone for Daenerys to get where she needed to be. This comes across as questionable and problematic. Essos was largely populated by people of color whose stories were never given proper exploration or closure. By never following up with any of Essos’ biggest stories or dangling threads, all it became was a situation where characters of color were props in service of a white woman’s narrative—a woman who ended up being the villain, meaning who knows what chaos she left in her wake.
Okay this is just a small query. Season eight’s penultimate episode, “The Bells,” ended with Arya finding a beautiful white horse and riding it out of the smoldering ruins of King’s Landing. It was a gorgeous scene that seemed to symbolize how Arya had become the personification of Death, riding on a pale horse. Did it mean she was destined to kill Daenerys? LOL nope. But that’s only part of the problem. The next time we see her, in the series finale, she’s leaving the gates of King’s Landing. On foot. Where did the horse go?!
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